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Public Choice Economics

Public choice refers to that area of economics devoted to the study of politics using the methods supplied by economic science. As in other applications of economics, a representative individual is the basic building block of public choice analysis—in this case, a representative voter, politician, bureaucrat, regulator, or lobbyist. The individual is assumed to face a choice among alternatives, to have a preference among those alternatives, and to choose the alternative that is most consistent with his (or her) preference. Thus, the objective of public choice analysis is to explain the aggregate outcomes of individuals making choices in specific political settings.

A common criticism of public choice should be dealt with at the start: The assumption that people make political choices in pursuit of private ends ...

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